Catherine Gratwicke
  • Yield: 20 servings

Originally from Sienna, Italy, and, although not specifically a festive treat, panforte certainly makes an ideal Christmas present.


-- Sunflower oil, for greasing
1cup blanched almonds
1cup blanched hazelnuts
3/4cup unsalted shelled pistachios
2cups mixed dried fruits, including apricots, candied peel, raisins, figs and medjool dates, roughly chopped
1teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2teaspoon ground ginger
1/2teaspoon ground cloves
1/2teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3/4cup all-purpose flour
1-- rounded tablespoon cocoa
1pinch salt
1/2cup honey
1cup superfine sugar
-- Confectioners’ sugar, to serve


  1. Grease 2 (8-inch) round cake pans and line the bottom of each with a disk of rice paper.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  3. Spread the almonds and hazelnuts on a baking sheet and toast in the preheated oven for about 5 to 7minutes, until lightly golden. Cool slightly, then roughly chop with the pistachios and place in a large bowl. Add the chopped dried fruit and mix well.
  4. In another small bowl, mix together the spices, flour, cocoa and salt. Add to the dried fruit and nuts and mix until thoroughly combined.
  5. Reduce the oven temperature to 300F.
  6. Combine the honey and sugar in a medium-sized pan and stir over low heat until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to a boil and continue to cook until the mixture reaches 240F on a candy thermometer. Remove from the heat, pour into the fruit and nut mixture, and mix well. Spoon into the prepared pans and spread level.
  7. Bake on the middle rack of the preheated oven for 45 to 60 minutes, until firm. Remove from the oven and cool in the pan. Run a palette knife around the edge of the pan and carefully ease out the panforte. Dust with confectioners’ sugar to serve.
  8. Stored in an airtight container, panforte will keep for weeks.

Reprinted with permission from Annie Rigg’s Gifts from the Kitchen (Kyle Books, 2011).